Editor’s Note: This post was originally published in August 2017 and has been updated for April 2018. The goal of the post is the same: to provide customers best practices for using Verblio’s (formerly BlogMutt) ‘Business Info’ page, but our platform changes fast and it’s high time we refreshed this post to reflect the latest Verblio features and improvements.
No matter how long you’ve been with Verblio (formerly BlogMutt), you’ve probably heard how important it is to communicate your needs and expectations to our writers. After all, bringing on a new writer is similar to onboarding a new employee. To bring them up to speed, you must provide them a deep understanding of your company and clearly communicate what you want from them.
One way to do this is by creating strong, descriptive requests. But your requests aren’t the only place where writers can learn more about your company and read your guidelines for posts.
The Business Info page allows you to store all the information you want our writers to know in one place. Some of the fields are straightforward, like the links to your website, blog, Twitter account, and information regarding your business’s industry.
However, some of the fields are open-ended and are specifically designed to help our writers create better content for you. They prompt you to describe your target audience, your voice and personality, and define your English type (Australian, British, American, etc). You can also provide examples of your favorite content and any other general information that may help our writers.
Perfecting these open-ended fields will not only get you great content, but will help you build a group of strong writers who quickly come to understand your core business and can continuously meet your content needs.
Getting Started: Where Do I Find the Business Info Page & What Does It Include?
Click on the “More” tab and choose Business info from the drop-down menu:
The first half of the page includes more general information to share with writers, including your business name, links to your website, blog, Twitter account, and your business’s industry information:
Scroll down and you’ll find the following text fields that are specifically intended to help you communicate your writing needs with our community of writers:
- Voice & Personality
- English Type
- Content Example
- General business information for our writers
Let’s dive into each one and cover best practices.
Who should our writers keep in mind as to who they’re speaking to while writing your content? Stay-at-home moms, millennial yoga enthusiasts, or middle-aged mechanical engineers? Do you have more in-depth demographics? Or highly defined personas developed? Sharing these details is one of the top ways to get writers to step into your shoes quickly and write credibly to your target market(s).
Define your target audience and be specific!
Voice & Personality
When defining your voice and personality, try to envision who the author of your content should be. Should your content be written from the perspective of an expert IT professional? Do you want to receive writing with an authoritative, thought leadership, technical tone (for example) or should the content come across as more conversational, or even casual, friendly, and easy to understand?
Is your business (or those of your clients) located outside of the United States? If so, chances are you want to receive content that reflects your specific type of English in terms of spellings & regional vocabulary. (You can learn more about our English type offerings here).
The ‘English Type’ field allows you to specify the type of English writers should use to prevent unnecessary rounds of edit requests and easy revisions. Choose from:
- American English
- British English
- Australian English
- Canadian English
- New Zealand English
- South African English
Most often we’ve found that the easiest way to explain what type of writing you hold as high-quality in your industry is by providing our writers with examples. Use this field to provide links and show writers your favorite pieces of content—don’t forget to explain why you love each example, too!
You can include blog posts you’ve developed in the past in-house that are great models moving forward or content pieces from other sources that are a great marker for quality, tone, and style.
General business information for our writers
This field is a catch-all and lets you communicate anything that your writers need to know in order to write successfully for you that hasn’t been covered in the previous Business Info fields. Whether you have specific citation requirements or you want to make sure each blog post ends with the same call-to-action, this is the perfect place for any miscellaneous information our writers need to know about your brand, business, or preferences.
Need help getting started? Here are a few suggestions:
- Essential reading about your company (“About Us” page, sales collateral, product pages)
- A style guide that you can share via public link
- Anything that is a must for you in order to buy a piece of content
- Anything you don’t ever want a writer to include in their writing
- SEO requirements including keywords, use of external links, etc.
- Calls-to-action that every piece of content should include
- A list of specific sites/resources to reference for the source of all-truth in your industry
- Guidelines for how you’d like writers to use sources including citation requirements
- List of competitors that you don’t want writers to reference
Why do I need the ‘Business Info’ fields?
While you aren’t required to fill out the entire Business Info page, we encourage you to try adding information to each field, especially the open-ended fields such as the general business info, audience, and brand & personality fields.
The more information you provide our writers, the better. Here’s why:
The open-ended “Business Info” fields are the first place writers check out when considering writing for a new company.
That’s right! You may think that writers only pay attention to your requests, but most writers will check out your ‘Business Info’ sections even before checking out your requests.
Writers need to get to know your company before they can dive into your requests. The Business Info fields are where they can learn the basic information about your company, what you want your content to be about, the style and tone your content should have, the intended audience, and any other specific guidelines.
It’s the clearest indication of your company’s voice—if filled out mindfully.
Today’s online world is full of content, making it that much more important for your company to have a memorable personality and a unique voice in order to stand out from competitors. If you aren’t quite sure yet of how to define your company’s voice, check out this article.
Your content is an extension of your company, so it needs to exemplify your company’s voice and personality. Use the ‘Voice & Personality’ field to display that voice and show our writers the personality that their writing should be infused with.
Combine that with the Content Example field, and our writers will know exactly what type of content you’re looking for!
It’s the perfect place to communicate any information that applies to ALL content.
It just doesn’t make sense to include guidelines in every single request if they apply to all of them. You probably have a set of guidelines in your head that you run through every time to review a submission, including criteria to accept or decline a submission, rules about industry-specific jargon, and even minimum word counts. Save yourself the effort and write them in the ‘Business Info’ section.
Jot those guidelines down the appropriate fields, and use the ‘General business information for our writers’ for instructions that don’t fit anywhere else that you still need to convey. Writers will be able to view all of your guidelines in one place and refer to them every time they write for you.
If you really want to earn extra credit with the Verblio writers, create your own style guide and provide writers with your basic rules for writing content. You can get started with this template from HubSpot.
You get content you love quicker!
In doing a good job filling all of the ‘Business Info’ fields, you may be able to eliminate excessive feedback for writers and reduce the rounds of editing required before you have a piece of content that you really love.
If you find yourself requesting edits or declining submissions for the same reasons almost every time, perhaps you can eliminate the disappointment altogether by optimizing your ‘Business Info’ fields.
3 Excellent Examples
OK, so you have a few ideas for sprucing up your ‘Business Info’ page, but we all know there’s no better way to learn than by example.
Here are some examples from actual Verblio customers. Check them out and see how you can take your account to the next level.
1. A customer who clearly (and creatively) defines their audience:
Jotting down a few basic demographics of your target audience doesn’t always paint a clear picture for writers. This customer tapped into their creativity and brought their business’s target audience to life! As an additional bonus, the customer’s willingness to write a killer audience description is bound to catch the attention of writers and attract more interest in their topics.
Don’t hold back! You don’t have to turn your business information into a piece of art, but the more you write and the more descriptive you are, the better writing you will receive.
2. A customer who knows what keywords they want to use:
So, you don’t need to list pages and pages of keywords for writers to hit on your SEO goals. But if you’ve already done your research and know which keywords you want to use in your blog posts, feel free to list them in the ‘General business information for our writers’ section.
Writers can quickly scan your list of keywords and make sure their post hits on your SEO goals before hitting the “submit” button.
3. A few customers who understand the power of examples:
I love when customers use the content example field! It allows them to show our writers what kind of content they like rather than try to describe it.
These customers provided examples of their favorite writing and clearly explained why they love the examples. Do you have a blog post with a strong call-to-action? Show this to our writers and they’ll do their best to make sure their calls-to-action are just as strong.
The takeaway here is that you don’t need to write a 10-page essay to communicate your needs. Examples can do wonders for our writers!
Now, it’s your turn!
Take a look at your ‘Business Info’ page and compare it to the examples above. (If you never filled out this section, you’re at least at a good starting point.)
While we provide some structure on the page for helpful guidance, remember that you can express pretty much anything you need to here!
Write whatever you want, any way you want it—as long as it will help writers learn about your company and what you need as a customer.